Trip Start Jul 02, 2008
31Trip End Jul 25, 2008
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Where I stayed
Carol and Bob had left 4 messages by the time I turned my phone on just before leaving. Concerns about our tour plans in Oslo, and then Carol warning me to be patient. Apparently HAL (Holland America Line) didn't have it act together aboard ship yet, and she said they were under staffed
They tagged our bags and took them away as we exited the taxi, but that's where the efficiency ended. Once inside, I tried to enter the queue to check in only to be told they would not start checking in until 11:30. It was 10:15. So, we joined the other 250 people who had already arrived in a seating area and waited. They had handed out numbers for the boarding process, and a half hour later or so they called 1's and 2's to get in line to check in. Then return to the seating area. We were a number 4. We didn't have to wait long, but I felt for the number 15's. Check in was smooth, then we sat back down again and waited. And waited. We met some fellow travelers, and then waited some more. And then some more before meeting even more travelers. Finally around 1:00 they began to board the passengers in the deluxe accommodations. Around 1:30 they called people who had been in group 1 & 2, the only difficulty was that they had taken all the numbers so no one had any way to prove they were a 1 or 2. So there were some 4', some 8's and I even recognized some 15's. To top it off they had begun reissuing numbers, so the second round of 1's and 2's also got in line. What a mess. And it was not getting prettier. Most of these folks waiting had arrived only this morning from the US, some from as far away as California, that's a 9 hour time difference
No, I did not go ballistic. I didn't even get all that upset, instead choosing to laugh about it with Michael and our new found friends. It's amazing how adversity bonds people. Then we discovered that part of the problem with the slow moving line was one of the baggage screening machines had been broken. Finally the line began to move and Michael and I were finally through the gate and next to this magnificent ship.
"My, she's yar" Tracy Lords would say. "Damn, she's beautiful" was my remark! "Wow" was all I heard Michael say. A quick photo op with the ships photographer, and then aboard we went!
Carol and Bob are a trip, in a good sense of the word. They were waiting for us to board, waved and snapped photo's of us from several decks above! We met up with them on the way to our cabin. [SIGH] We ended up with only an inside cabin, but what a cabin
Lunch ensued, and then before I knew it 4:00 was here and I was roused from a little nap (4am caught up with me) for the lifeboat drill. HAL has an amazing safety record, and takes these drills seriously. Amazingly, it was over shortly and we were serenaded by a local girls marching band from shore (see vid). 5 o'clock was fast approaching and sailing was imminent. We met up with Carol and Bob on the Lido deck for sail-a-way drinks (soda's for them, Champagne for Michael and I) and then took a zillion pictures as we sailed out. What a beautiful day it was. Bright, sunny, warm. Perfect for the festivities. And for Michaels first on-air reporting gig! (see vid).
But we were under way and once again 4 am reared it's ugly head again. Larry was pooped. But not too pooped to unpack, which followed. I had planned to go to the thermal suite and hydro spa (a gift from Michael) but instead another quick nap before dinner
Dinner at 8. Michael dressed up in a tie and jacket, I opted for a black t-shirt and jacket, both of us in slacks. A quick lap around the promenade to let the line ease up and then into the dining room we went.
OUCH! HAL had messed up AGAIN! How unlike them. Disasters of disasters! We were NOT seated with Michaels parents. Michael was NOT pleased to say the least. But it was quickly resolved by us simply moving to their table and taking the two seats some one else had not shown up for. I started the process of getting it resolved on our way out of the dining room, but we will see what happens tomorrow.
Dinner was lovely, I had crab and avocado tower appetizer, followed by a spinach and warm bacon salad, then roast chicken with mash that was lovely. I topped it off with brandied cherry ice cream. Lovely! 9 o'clock loomed and the evening show "Let us Entertain You" was about to begin.
The theater is beautiful. Three decks, and lots of seats. Amazingly comfortable leather seats at that. I sank into the cushion. WOW! So comfy I could fall asleep here! [YAWN] But the music started and show began
The show was short, only an hour, and I was putting a good face on my tired body. When I asked Michael and Carol what was up next, Carol said bed, (lucky Bob?) then commented on how tired I looked. I was exhausted. I needed sleep and to rest up for tomorrow and Oslo!
We were in the cabin and I was between those 400 thread count sheets so fast you would not believe it, snuggled up to my Mikey and asleep before you could say Abrac...dab.... r....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZ